A discussion with Executive Vice-President Šefčovič: Joint gas purchasing in the context of the European Green Deal
Chaired by Jerzy Buzek MEP, President of the EEF
Speaker: Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Vice-President European Green Deal, Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight
Jerzy Buzek MEP, EEF President opened this energy debate underlining the key role of the European Green Deal in moving forward with the EU decarbonisation and climate neutrality objectives by 2050. Mr Buzek also praised the design and effectiveness of the EU Energy Platform, which has helped the EU reduce its gas imports from Russia. He emphasized how it has supported the EU in enhancing security of supply and affordable energy prices since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.
Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Vice-President European Green Deal, Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight stressed how EU institutions worked effectively and in close cooperation to adopt prompt emergency measures to face the energy supply and price crisis. He recognised that they helped to stabilise the situation and highlighted that it is also necessary to remain vigilant and take all necessary precautions given the highly volatile geopolitical landscape. Mr Šefčovič explained that strategic industrial policies are necessary to face external competition and swiftly decarbonise our energy system. For this reason, the focus needs to be on the acceleration of renewables, more investments in the energy sector and in low carbon fuels, the development of energy storage and on energy efficiency measures.
In line with the above, Mr Šefčovič underlined that it is necessary to conclude a number of dossiers before the end of this legislative term, including the Electricity Market Design reform, the Hydrogen and Decarbonised Gas Package, the Net Zero Industry Act and Critical Raw Materials Act so as to be able to start delivering the results as soon as possible.
In the context of 2030 targets, EVP Šefčovič clarified the importance of considering not only the need to accelerate on power generation, but also, and especially, to pay attention to infrastructure development.
Focusing on the joint purchase of gas under the EU energy platform, he recalled that it has been designed to respond to the energy price crisis. It proved that the European economic weight with an aggregate demand has considerably helped to get better prices and services on the gas market. Based on figures, he concluded that the Platform delivers very good results and contributes to market transparency, suppliers’ diversification and security of supply.
Given the effectiveness of the Platform, he emphasized how this mechanism should go beyond gas and be extended to hydrogen and critical raw materials. He discussed the need to exponentially increase the installed capacity of renewable hydrogen in the EU, which is currently very low, by stimulating investments and the internal market in general, also through the European Hydrogen Bank. On the side of critical raw materials, he underlined the need to act united.
Mr Šefčovič concluded by stressing that by using the economic and political weight of Europe as a whole, it is possible to get to a situation with favourable and enabling conditions to carry out the green and digital transitions.
The Executive Vice-President’s keynote speech was followed by Q&A session with the audience which touched upon a wide variety of topics including the creation of an internal hydrogen market, the development of European infrastructure and grids, security of supply challenges and the outlook of the joint gas purchasing for next year. And more broadly on EU’s strategic autonomy and the evolution of a common energy policy, technology neutrality, the Energy Taxation Directive, the extension of the EU energy platform in the future and the role of gas as a transition fuel.